Board Certification

Although it is unnecessary for a recent graduate to become board certified, there are numerous benefits associated with the certification. The science of veterinary medicine is continuing to grow and expand, which has many veterinarians focusing on specific areas of interest.  As new graduates come into the industry each year, it becomes more and more important for them to have extra experience, training and credentials. But becoming board certified isn’t the only route you can go. The ABVP, or American Board of Veterinary Practitioners also provides certification within ten areas of interest. Becoming certified versus board certified does not make a difference, as both are accredited by the AVMA.

Board Certification Education

Veterinarians who wish to specialize in a particular field of veterinary medicine need to go to a veterinary specialty college or board that is recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association, or the AVMA. However, you do not deal directly with the AVMA. The AVMA established the ABVS, or American Board of Veterinary Specialties to oversee and monitor the performance of veterinary specialty colleges and/or boards who are providing board certification. Once a veterinarian meets all educational and training requirements, including the passing of the certification examination, he or she is awarded a diploma and then allowed to begin practicing in their specific field.

Benefits of Board Certification

In an economic time when jobs are competitive, it’s to ones advantage to have extra experience, education and training. Being board certified tells not only your employers, but the public that you are knowledgeable, hard working and ready for the task at hand. Other benefits to board certification are:

  • Increased salary
  • Benefit packages
  • Bonuses
  • Location of employment
  • Work with specific animals
  • Networking within the industry
  • The right to refer to yourself as a Diplomate

Plus, most board certified veterinarians are members of associations and societies worldwide, making networking easier especially for new graduates.

To view a list of these Associations and Societies, click here.

To learn more about Veterinary Specialties, click here.

American Board of Veterinary Practitioners

Unlike the AVMA specialty boards, which are geared towards specific disciplines or organ systems (dentistry, behavioral, etc) the ABVP awards species-orientated certification in 10 different practice categories. These categories include:

  • Avian Practice
  • Beef Cattle Practice
  • Canine and Feline Practice
  • Dairy Practice
  • Equine Practice
  • Exotic Companion Mammal Practice
  • Feline Practice
  • Food Animal Practice
  • Reptile and Amphibian Practice
  • Swine Health Management

The process for earning certification is very challenging for most students. The credentialing and examination processes are difficult, yet rewarding. The certification process for ABVP is:

  • Credentials Submission (Application)
  • Credentials Review and Acceptance
  • Study
  • Certification Examination

To learn more about the certification process for ABVP, Read the Applicant Handbook (.pdf).

For one to maintain their Diplomate status within the ABVP, he or she must recertify every ten years. A Diplomate who is good standing with the ABVP should have no problems through the recertification process. However, if a Diplomate has not paid annual fees continuously they may be declined if they can not pay the delinquent and current fees. In order to recertify with the ABVP, Diplomates must retain 500 recertification credits and submit an application with documentation by January 15th, of whichever year recertification is sought.

If you are eligible for recertification, or if you’d like to see the application (.pdf).